June 6, 2018

Worcester City Council again tables tobacco vote

Photo/Grant Welker
Worcester City Hall

The Worcester City Council again tabled a proposal to delay a city-wide ban on flavored tobacco products unless said products are sold in an age-restricted establishment.

After a length discussion, councilors voted 7-4 to table the discussion again after the body took the same action twice last month.

After the City Council signed off on the proposal, the Board of Health voted in April to ban flavored tobacco products in retail stores, but allow sales in cigar bars and other age-restricted establishments.

Now, city councilors want the Board of Health to take a second look at this after outcry from Worcester shopkeepers and business community, including the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Councilor Gary Rosen, the filer of the motion to delay implementation of the regulations, said the ban unfairly punishes 266 shop owners while rewarding about 20 establishments still allowed to sell the products.

Rosen and Councilor Morris Bergman are asking the board to sit down with shopkeepers and perhaps come up with an alternate proposal to punish the sale of tobacco to a minor rather than punishing the convenience stores.

"It's wrong to do that," Rosen said. "It's terribly wrong."

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